November 09 2014

We leave Jinan tomorrow. We’re working right up until the end. Our last day of work is today, and our visa expires on Tuesday. We had more parties today, more gifts, and more goodbyes. Somehow it felt even more surreal today then it had yesterday.  I finished giving away the remainder of my teaching supplies, and after that I tried my hardest to stay away from my desk. All of the pictures were off the wall, and it was too weird sitting at an empty desk.

We finally had our meeting to get our final payment. Sara was conveniently absent, as Candy rambled on about all of the things we had done wrong in our 15 months that supposedly excused our low completion bonus. On top of that she charged us a fee for the damages in our apartment, all of which had been there the day we moved in! Of course this was all done two days before our visa expired to prevent us from disputing the claims.

I guess, in a way, the school made it a bit easier for us to leave as all of the frustrations that had built up over the year were brought to light under the current circumstances. After a bit of grumbling and cursing Happy English, we came to the conclusion that we had much more important things to worry about, and washed our hands of the schools treatment towards us. Besides, we were leaving far more valuable things behind in Jinan then money.

The whole school went out to “Big Pizza” for dinner, and afterwards Nate and I met Sonya, Rose, and our painting teacher at KTV. Nate and I had tried to organize KTV nights in the passed, but about 50% of the people we had invited never showed up. We didn’t have high hopes for tonight, and were happy to just spend our last night in Jinan with a couple of close friends.

We were pleasantly surprised when Joe texted, asking where to meet us, and even more so when Katrina and Andy opened the door. When Ally, one of our newest FTs arrived, we had to move to a bigger room! And then Amy called, and joined our group with Sandy and another one of her friends in tow.

Cassy, Joe, and Andrea arrived all the way from the West center, and we were once again informed that we would have to switch to a bigger room!

People just kept on showing up! We maxed out the capacity of even the biggest room. Everyone was up dancing and singing, it didn’t matter what song was playing. In the end there was even a group of people no one even knew. I just kept smiling. I wore a massive grin on my face all night, even at the end when we had to say goodbye I was still grinning as tears spilled down my cheeks. We didn’t make it home until 3:00 am.

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